Fresh Food

Go Green—and Cut Costs—with Natural Refrigerants

Propane R-290 changes the game with convenient, environmentally friendly technologies.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The pandemic has catalyzed a number of major shifts in consumer habits and preferences—but demands for eco-friendly practices remain. Still, as health and safety have taken precedence, many retailers have been forced to pull back on some environmentally friendly practices, such as eliminating single-use materials. For this reason, grocers can benefit from finding other ways to go green and keep eco-conscious consumers happy while keeping quality high and costs low.

Eco-friendly product claims continue to gain momentum as a sales driver—even amid COVID-19. According to a 2020 report from New York University’s Center for Sustainable Business in partnership with IRI, sustainability-marketed products are responsible for 54.7% of the growth in consumer packaged goods from 2015 to 2019, and this growth continues despite the pandemic.

In short, retailers ought to keep up with consumer demands for sustainability in order to remain competitive, both now and post-pandemic.

Go green, naturally

For retailers looking to engage this growing market, switching to natural refrigerants such as propane R-290 and compatible technologies from Hussmann is an excellent option.

“Overall, our Hussmann natural refrigerants vision is to reduce the impact of refrigerants on the environment and create more sustainable commercial refrigeration systems,” explains Richard Gilles, senior product leader for Hussmann’s Distributed Systems Group. “Natural refrigerants have no ozone depletion potential, a very low global warming potential and environmental impact compared to industrial chemicals designed for refrigeration purposes.”

Plus, Hussmann’s R-290 merchandisers boast an extremely low leak rate because the systems are charged, sealed and tested at the factory before shipment—a feature that’s important for supporting eco-friendly operations and keeping ongoing service costs low as well.

R-290 merchandisers cut costs, save time

Importantly, Hussmann’s R-290 merchandisers are a smart choice for their high performance and cost-saving features alone.

“Propane is also a great refrigerant from a thermodynamic property standpoint and can be used in both medium- and low-temperature applications,” says Gilles. “We have begun to create a portfolio of both air-cooled self-contained plug-and-play propane cases under the microSC brand as well as the water-loop cooled self-contained propane cases under the microDS brand.”

Hussmann’s propane R-290 merchandisers offer faster installation and setup, lowering labor costs and allowing stores to open on an earlier timeframe. They can utilize lower-cost piping, they don’t require systems for leak detection and monitoring and their simplified design can help reduce ongoing service fees.

Plus, R-290 merchandisers are space savers in comparison to central systems, potentially freeing up much-needed space for grocery pickup storage (a pandemic must-have) and merchandising expansion. And the installation process, Gilles assures, will be as efficient as possible.

Partial store remodels can be completed in stages overnight, allowing continuous merchandiser use and sales,” he says. “This happens because it is a separate system installation from the current store systems.  Supporting equipment, infrastructure and commissioning of the water-loop system can occur while the current merchandisers are still in place. Overnight case removal and connections are made and can be restocked after 24 hours.”

Individualized solutions offer peak performance

“We also understand that there will not be a single solution that works across the industry,” says Gilles. “Each individual case can be optimized for the product it is merchandising.  All central DX and large distributed architectures have a case lineup that has a single setting which is not going to be optimized for each merchandising section.”

And how do retailers pick the best-fit product for their store? Hussmann’s experts make it a team effort.

“We have a full design and application engineering team that works with each customer to ensure their merchandising and planogram needs can be supported. Customers’ preferences on displaying merchandise varies widely, so partnering in the possible design solutions is necessary,” says Gilles.

To learn more about how propane R-290 merchandisers from Hussmann can help retailers maintain environmentally friendly operations while continuing to reduce costs and offer high-quality service, visit

This post is sponsored by Hussmann